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Dashcam catches off-duty cop threatening to put 'hole in head' of driver

Technically Incorrect: A Massachusetts driver makes a wrong turn. What happens next, all filmed on his dashcam, has led to an investigation. And yes, it's now on YouTube.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


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Detective LeBert, in uniform, now under investigation.WBZ-TV screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Who would have felt comfortable in these circumstances?

A Massachusetts man was driving in the town of Medford last Saturday night. He admits he took a wrong turn and ended up going the wrong way down a traffic circle.

However, how wrong a turn might his life have taken if the events that followed had taken a slightly different turn.

In dashcam video posted to YouTube by a driver who only gave his name as Michael, he is confronted by an angry man in a white tank top and shorts.

The angry man steps out of a truck and approaches him. Michael, seemingly -- and perhaps understandably -- frightened, reverses. The angry man follows him and Michael stops.

The angry man appears to show his badge and identifies himself as a police officer. Some, though, might be troubled by the officer's greeting: "I'll put a hole in your head."

Michael is apologetic and explains to the officer -- now identified as Det. Stephen LeBert -- that he is being recorded. LeBert suggests that he will seize the camera.

"I'm a f***ing Medford detective and you went through that f***ing rotary," says LeBert. As Michael insists he didn't see a sign, LeBert demands his license.

"You're lucky I'm a cop, otherwise I'd be beating the f***ing piss out of you right now," LeBert adds, shortly after calling the driver an a**hole.

LeBert ultimately calls for on-duty cops who at least do a little to calm the situation. However, the fact that Michael posted his video to YouTube has led to an investigation.

Medford Police Chief Leo Sacco told MyFoxBoston: "It's not the proper behavior, but we only know about it when people tell us. And unfortunately, we had to get up this morning and see it on a YouTube video."

In the days before cameras proliferated, you had to rely on witnesses and hearsay. The police were more likely to be believed by those in authority. Cameras have begun to change that -- on both sides.

Sacco told the Medford Transcript: "The video is troubling enough, and it requires investigation just based on what we see here. The driver does not have to file his own complaint. He may, but he does not have to."

I have contacted Sacco to ask how long the investigation might take and will update, should I hear.

The incident might remind some of the New York cop -- also off-duty -- who expressed his displeasure at an Uber driver's maneuvering by offering racially-tinged invective and a lot more. In this case, it was the passenger who recorded events.

Not every police officer behaves this way. But there's something about the aggressive entitlement in both cases that is troubling for anyone who fears being in exactly that sort of situation.

Sacco told the Medford Transcript that LeBert was a good policeman. He added, perhaps unfortunately: "If you work hard you do step on people's toes, which generates complaints."

This doesn't appear to be stepping on toes. Indeed, as Michael told WBZ-TV: "I thought that guy was going to kill me."